Black Fungus- the illegitimate child of COVID that appeared after 13 years

A short blog post about Black Fungus and its spread, symptoms, etc.

Mucormycosis Black fungus: All you need to know about the black fungal  infection symptoms, treatment and prevention
Image from The Times of India

COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2, is the first pandemic faced by humanity in 10 years. First discovered on New Year’s Eve in 2019, the virus has wreaked havoc. As if causing untold damage to the economy, to the healthcare system, and to humanity as a whole wasn’t enough, it mutated and created variants that were both, more dangerous, and more contagious. Now, however, we may be facing something far more sinister- something that would be right at home in a post-apocalyptic movie.

A horrifying infection, mucormycosis, or black fungal infection, seems to have ‘resurfaced’ in 2021, as reports are being made of patients contracting it. In Maharashtra, news media reported that 200 patients who had recovered from COVID contracted mucormycosis, and 8 of them died. The threat posed by this disease and its symptoms is enough to plunge even the most optimistic of minds into despair, and seems to be increasing day-by-day; Gujarat recently ordered 5,000 doses of Amphotericin-B medicine to combat it.  

Black fungal infection causes facial swelling on one side, a splitting headache, nasal congestion and black lesions in the mouth, and an extremely high fever. The infection has a mortality rate of 54%, and spells certain doom for those infected by it, if it reaches their brain. To prevent the infection from spreading to the brain, some patients have undergone surgery to have their eye removed. The sheer danger of this disease makes the loss of an eye seem like a trivial sacrifice.

Of course, mucormycosis isn’t a disease caused directly by the virus. In fact, it was first reported by a 2014 study of a fungal outbreak in a pediatric hospital in 2008, where 5 children met their demise due to it. Scientists speculate that the anti-immune steroids taken by COVID patients to reduce inflammation also weakened the body’s immune response, leading to them contracting the fungal infection.  For similar reasons, diabetics are particularly susceptible to it, owing to their compromised immune system. Thus, they, and people with compromised immune systems, should be especially careful about maintaining social distancing rules and wearing masks.

Hopefully, with mass vaccination drives taking place, and with lockdowns being enforced more strictly throughout the nation, we can hope to see an improvement in the condition of the country. For now, all we can do is pray for our ‘happy ending’ to this dystopian movie we seem to be stuck in.

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